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Our Michigan Spousal Support Attorneys

When a couple is headed toward divorce, they face a lot of financial uncertainty. If you are wondering whether alimony – referred to as spousal support in Michigan – will factor into your divorce, our Ann Arbor spousal support attorneys at Biggs & Gunst P.C. Attorneys At Law can answer your questions and provide advice.

What Is Spousal Support?

The divorce laws in Michigan recognize that spouses contribute to a marriage in different ways. When one spouse makes more money than the other, the court can choose to award spousal support to offset the income imbalance. Spousal support is designed to provide the spouse with a smaller income financial stability during and after the divorce.

How Is Spousal Support Calculated In Michigan?

There is no such thing as a spousal support calculator in Michigan. Spousal support will be determined by a number of different factors, including:

  • How long the parties were married
  • The financial circumstances of each party
  • Each party’s education level and ability to work

The court will also consider a couple’s division of property and assets. Spousal support may be used to offset the division of assets. Sometimes, spousal support is predetermined in a prenup or postnup agreement.

How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?

The court will also determine how long a spouse has to pay spousal support. The length of spousal maintenance will depend on several different factors, including:

  • The length of time the parties were married
  • The age of the spouses
  • The support recipient’s ability to work
  • The education level of the support recipient
  • The ability of the paying spouse to pay

Spousal support can be awarded for a temporary period, with the idea that the receiving spouse will need some time to be able to maintain their financial status on their own. Spousal maintenance can also be awarded permanently.

What Are The Different Types Of Spousal Support In Michigan?

In Michigan, four different types of spousal support exist, specifically:

  • Temporary: Temporary spousal support is designed to help couples maintain their financial status quo during divorce proceedings.
  • Permanent: Permanent spousal support is rarely awarded in Michigan divorces; it is usually reserved for longer marriages where one party did not work, cannot work (due to a disability or health issues) or left the workforce.
  • Periodic: Periodic spousal support is awarded when one party needs further education, training or professional development to become self-supporting.
  • Lump-sum: Spousal support is not commonly paid in lump-sum form. If the payer of spousal support has the means to fulfill their obligation in this manner, however, it is an option in Michigan.

To determine which type of spousal support may be a factor in your divorce, you should consult a Michigan family law attorney.

Are Spousal Support Payments Taxed?

Under both state and federal tax reform laws, spousal support is no longer taxable income. Therefore, anyone paying spousal support cannot claim it as a deduction. Likewise, a spouse who is receiving support payments does not have to include it as income for tax purposes.

How Should Spousal Support Payments Be Used?

Spousal support is designed to help the recipient meet their monthly expenses and maintain their standard of living; while there is no express criteria for what payments can and cannot be spent on, they should be used toward the purpose of achieving these ends. Payments can also help cover the cost of education or training the recipient must acquire to support themselves.

When Can Spousal Support Be Modified?

In the state of Michigan, spousal support can be modified in the event there is a significant change in circumstances. However, if the parties reach an agreement regarding spousal maintenance in their divorce, the terms of the decree will dictate if either party can seek to modify support. In other words, if you waived your right to seek a modification in the original divorce decree, you will not be able to seek a modification.

Our Ann Arbor spousal support lawyers at Biggs & Gunst P.C. Attorneys At Law can help evaluate your situation. We can assess if you will likely have to pay spousal support or evaluate if you may be entitled to spousal support. We can also consider whether or not you might be able to modify your existing spousal support obligation.

Schedule A Free Consultation With A Spousal Support Attorney

At Biggs & Gunst P.C. Attorneys At Law, we know that with all of the uncertainty surrounding an impending divorce, you probably have a lot of questions. Our Ann Arbor family law attorneys offer free initial consultations and serve clients in Jackson County, Lenawee County, Livingston County, Monroe County and Washtenaw County. To schedule a free appointment with a spousal support lawyer, contact our office by calling 734-720-4445 or sending us an email through our website.